Last fall I read several items on the stuxnet computer worm. I thought then it was a nasty piece of work but no one had any idea of who was responsible. The sneaky thing about this malicious bit of programming was its target--industrial control systems, particularly those involved in uranium enrichment, ant the fact that it was a precisely targeted program, focused on the Iranian nuclear program. Now, according to the New York Times, there is evidence pointing at the U.S. and Israel. Even if you subscribe to the notion that Iran is dangerous (and I do), and to the notion that they shouldn't develop nuclear weapons (and I do), I think there is much about this that should give all of us serious second, third, and fourth (and more) thoughts. The nasty thing about such destructive technology is that what one person or group can develop another person or group can either steal or develop on their own. How long before someone deploys the next generation of stuxnet against those who developed it in the first place? And against what targets?
Tomdispatch has a post this morning by Stephen Salisbury which puts the Tucson shooting into an interesting context and asks an interesting question: why is it that shootings by white, right-wing, crazy men are simply labeled as the acts of white, crazy men and not terrorism even when the targets are clearly racial or political? Somehow the political angles on these stories is purged and the crazy angle disappears. But insert another factor--make the shooter Muslim--and suddenly the terrorism angle is magnified even if the shooter is clearly mentally disturbed. What political correctness is at work here?